North Carolina Tar Heels defensive lineman Sylvester Williams speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine. (Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports)

2013 Denver Broncos Day One Draft Grade: Sylvester Williams

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The Denver Broncos held onto their 28th pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft and selected defensive tackle Sylvester Williams out of North Carolina. The Broncos’ pick wasn’t so much based off of need, but off of taking the best player available (in their eyes).

Draft guru Mike Mayock had the Minnesota Vikings taking Williams with the 25th pick in his highly anticipated mock draft. Mayock said this about Williams in his mock:

Highly recruited, really gifted kid. For sure a two-down run defender. I also think he can push the pocket in sub situations. I think Sly Williams is a perfect fit for the Vikings. – Mike Mayock (NFL.com)

After Broncos made their selection, here’s what Mayock had to say.

That makes sense to me. This is a kid that can immediately come in and start at defensive tackle. He can stay in the game on sub packages. With what they have inside, I think he’s going to be a rotational guy that will get a lot of production.”

The 6-3, 313-pound tackle played his last two seasons at North Carolina. In his first year in the starting lineup in 2011, Williams had 54 tackles (seven for a loss), and 2.5 sacks. Last season, Williams had six sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss in 12 games.

Wiliams is described as a “violent tackler” and as a guy that “uses his hands and upper body to rip past and push aside linemen.”

One weakness is said to be his closing speed and his inability to make many plays outside the box.

Williams didn’t start playing football until his senior year in high school.

“I used to be a basketball player, and I thought I was really good, Williams said via conference call Thursday night. “But big name colleges weren’t interested in me as a basketball player, so finally my senior year I gave it [football] a try. I loved the game of basketball.”

Williams quit football after high school, but then got back into it as a junior college enrollee before transferring to North Carolina.

Many would have liked to have seen the Broncos take Mani Te’o, Eddie Lacy, or Tank Carradine, who were left on the board.

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